Ohio Genealogy Trails
Washington County, Ohio
Timeline of Historical Events

Ohio was admitted to statehood on February 19th, 1803.

Marietta was chartered as a city of the second class on October 29th, 1853.

Mrs. James Owen was the first woman settler in Marietta, arrivng June 5th, 1788.

The first meeting of the Ohio Company at Marietta was held on July 2nd, 1788.

Harmar was incorporated and became a separate corporate community in 1837. It was annexed to Marietta in 1890.

General Richard Butler selected the site for Fort Harmar at the mouth of the Muskingum on Saturday, Oct. 8th, 1785.

The Muskingum river was originally called the "Mooskingom," having been given that name, it is claimed, by the Delaware Indians.

The first sermon preached in Marietta was by Rev. William Breck, a member of the Ohio Company, on Sunday, July 20th, 1788.

The first election in Washington County was held in December, 1798. It was on this date that the right of franchise was first exercised northwest of the Ohio river.

Charles Dickens, the English novelist, it is claimed, years ago, while waiting for his steamer to take on fuel stepped on shore at the Third street wharf and viewed the city.

The first expedition made by the Ohio Land Company was in 1750. It was made under Christopher Guist for the purpose of exploring the territory which the company hoped to possess.

George Washington, on the night of Oct. 26th, 1770, camped at the mouth of the Little Muskingum on his way from Fort Pitt down the Ohio river on a tour of inspection of this western country.

Albert or Alpha Devol, father of J. L. Devol, now clerk of the Steamer Sonoma, was the first male child born in Marietta. He was a son of Wanton and Sally (Lake) Devol, and was born in Campus Martius in 1789.

Marietta was the first town incorporated in the Northwest Territory, December 2nd, 1800; Athens was incorporated four days later—December 6th, 1800. Cincinnati was incorporated January 1st, 1802, Chillicothe January 4th, 1802. 

Miss Rowena Tupper, daughter of General Tupper, and Winthrop Sargent, Secretary of the Ohio Company, wore the first couple to be married in Marietta. The ceremony was performed by General Putnam in his judicial robes on February 9th, 1789.

The first papers of administration ever granted in Washington County by the Probate Court were issued to Enoch Parsons, Esq., on the estate of his father, Samuel Holden Parsons, December22nd, 1789. - Probate Records of Washington County, Volume 1.

Fort Harmar, a military post planted by the government at the mouth of the Muskingum river, on the west shore, for the purpose of protection to the surveyors and the early inhabitants of the frontier was commenced in the autumn of 1785, under the supervision of Major John Doughty and a detachment of United States troops. It was completed in the spring of 1786.

On September 2nd, 1788, the first court was held with Col. Sprout, sheriff. The judges were General Rufus Putnam, Gen. Benjamin Tupper and Col. Arcihbald Creary. Paul Fearing was admitted as an attorney and was the first lawyer to practice at the bar in the Northwest Territory. Col. R. J. Meigs was clerk of the court. The pillory and stocks were used as forms of punishment.

Rutherford B. Hayes, who was President of the United States from 1877 to 1881, was first admitted to the bar for the practice of law in Marietta, in 18454, as shown by the following, taken from the District Court Journal, Book A, of Washington County, Ohio, under date of Monday, March 10th, 1845: "Erastus Adkins, James Evans and Rutherford B. Hayes, having been examined and found qualified to practice as attorneys and counsellor at law and solicitors in chancery, were this day duly sworn and admitted as such in the courts of this state."

Up to 1800 game was plentiful in the forests of Washington County. Of the larger game bear seems to have been the most abundant, while deer was also very plenty. The buffalo and the elk were also found here but owing to the wanton killing of these animals by the Indians on their annual hunts, they were exterminated. According to early writers of the history of those times "The woods were alive with wolves, foxes, Opossums, rabbits, raccoons, ground hogs, squirrels and birds." It is related that pigeons during their flights in the fall would travel in such immense flocks that entire forests have been destroyed by their lighting on the trees.

On the night of January 2nd, 1791, began the Indian war in the settlements of the Ohio Company, by the massacre at Big Bottom, about 30 miles above Marietta, on the Muskingum. In the spring of 1790 a party of young men from Marietta who had taken up donation lands erected a block house there. The following January the Indians came down the West side of the river, crossed on the ice just at dark, surprised the inmates of the block house at supper, tomahawked twelve persons, took several captives and heaping the dead together, they tore up the floor and piled it upon their bodies and set fire to the whole. This was the beginning of that four years of terrible warfare with savage foes.

Here is the first will recorded in Washington County: "Nuncupative Will of Charles Ransom, deceased. The deposition of John Bartlett and Amos Seymore, both of Capt. Heart's Company, 1st United States Regiment. The deponents say that on the 3rd clay of October last past, on their march against the Indian Towns, Charles Ransom, of the same company, called on them to bear witness that if he should not return from the campaign, should die or be killed, that he gave all his personal estate, viz: clothing, pay, and all arrearages of pay and clothing, to David Chapman, of said company. At the same time Chapman made his will in favor of said Ransom, and called on us to bear witness to the same." Signed John Bartlett, Amos Seymore, Fort Harmar, 7th December, 1790.

In January, 1798, Marietta entertained King Louis Phillippe, of France, who was making a tour of the United States. Among other celebrities who have been entertained at Marietta are mentioned: General Anthony Wayne, who assembled his troops prior to his famous Indian campaign at Fort Harmar, in 1795, William Henry Harrison, afterward President of the United States, was at Marietta for more than a year, when a lieutenant in the military service. Tecumseh, the great Indian warrior, viewed the settlement at "The Point," from the West Virginia hill tops in 1792. Henry Clay was the guest of Col. Levi Barber here, in 1820. Gen. LaFayette was the guest of Nathum Ward in 1825 and was given an ovation by the entire populace, young and old on his arrival. John Quincy Adams was the city's guest in 1843. Other men whose names are famous and who have visited this city, are: Thos. Ewing, Sr., Cassius M. Clay, Thomas Corwin, President Hays, Senator William Allen, Governor John Broagh, President Garfield, Governor Hoadly, Governor Morton, of Indiana, Senator Thurman, Senator Sherman, President McKinley, Senator Hanna and Senator Foraker. During the present year (1906) the city entertained Mrs. Nicholas Longworth, (daughter of The President of the United States, Hon. Theodore Roosevelt), Vice President of the United States, Hon. Chas. W. Fairbanks; Governor of Ohio, Hon. Andrew L. Harris, and numerous other distinguished officials of the state, all in attendance at the unveiling of the Bronze Memorial Tablet presented by the Ohio Company of Associates of New York, October 18th, 1906.

[Source: The Book of Marietta, by F. M. McDonnell, 1906, transcribed by C. Anthony]

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